Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tell the Story to Its End ~ Simon P Clark (eac) review [@sipclark @StMartinsPress]

Tel the Story to Its End
St Martin's Griffin
October 20, 2015
208 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

In this beautiful, haunting debut, a boy is whisked away to the country in the wake of a scandal, and finds a captivating creature in the attic whose attention comes at a sinister price.

"Tell the story to its end," says Eren with a grin.
His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night.
"When I reach the end," I say, "what happens? You'll have the whole story."
"Hmm," he says, looking at me and licking his lips with a dry, grey tongue. "What happens then? Why don't we find out?"

People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad where his father is. Why isn't he with them? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, and only an old, empty house in the middle of an ancient forest for answers. But then he finds a secret of his own: there is a creature that lives in the attic…

Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.

Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what’s happening downstairs with his family. But what if it’s a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth—or abandon himself to Eren’s world, forever.

Reminiscent of SKELLIG by David Almond and A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness, TELL THE STORY TO ITS END is richly atmospheric, moving, unsettleing, and told in gorgeous prose. A modern classic in the making.

Tell the Story to Its End (originally published as Eren) was an interesting, curious read.  It starts with that conversation between Eren and twelve-year-old Oli, then moves between the telling (Oli's story of coming, form London, to the countryside) and conversation between Oli and Eren.

Oli thinks his stay in the countryside is going to be boring. He is used to life in London, full of tall buildings, his friends and things to do. His grandmother's old house - now inhabited by his uncle, aunt and their dog - has its secrets, though.

Including Eren.

I really enjoyed certain scenes in Tell the Story to Its End. The myths and lore that are involved in the story and how they are told and what they impact, were great fun. The stories, along with the language used to tell them, was incredibly creative and captivating. Sentences like, "The snow was soft and it crunched like a lamb's skull as he walked . . ." (pg 47) are, yes, creative, but also weird and disturbing, too.

The different tales that are a part of Tell the Story to its End are all imaginative and caught my attention. I liked the characters - Oli, his family, the other children he meets - as well. As vignettes or individual scenes, I liked the book. As a whole, though, it did not feel cohesive. I did not feel as part of a complete story, a novel, as much as I wanted. Something kept me from being engrossed in the story as a whole.

While this novel's was not a perfect fit for me, I am interested in reading what the author publishes next.

digital copy for review received, via NetGalley, thanks to publisher

1 comment:

  1. Oh that metaphor of snow to a lamb's skull...this sounds like a very dark book without being a horror novel. I can't stand horror and thrillers most of the time, and yet I love dark themes, disturbing characters, and so much more that occasionally makes it into these strange fantasy novels...


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